Joliet Fisherman casts off 202 pounds after Weight Loss Surgery

Posted on : 11-30-2012 | By : tsimons | In : Events, Health Tips, News, Weight Loss

Dan Brown weighed over 400 pounds before weight loss surgery at Silver Cross Hospital

For many years Dan Brown of Joliet has been passionate about bass fishing. Unfortunately due to weighing over 400 pounds, he was unable to participate in many fishing tournaments for years, since he couldn’t endure the extreme heat. However after losing 202 pounds in 11 months as a result of his weight loss surgery at Silver Cross Hospital, he is now able to fish in the warm weather because the extreme temperatures no longer bother him.

“As a result of my weight loss surgery, I can now fully enjoy one of my life’s passions and competitively fish for hours while enjoying the beautiful outdoors,” said 49-year old Dan Brown.

In addition to fishing, Brown is able to vacation more and do simple tasks that he was unable to do prior to his surgery. “Since I lost weight, I have been able to enjoy vacations. Recently, my family and I went to Walt Disney World, and I was able to go on all the rides. I felt like a kid again,” said Brown. “But most of all, I am so happy to easily accomplish simple tasks like getting in and out of my car.”

In less than one year, he lost 202 pounds following his surgery.

Prior to his weight loss surgery, Dan’s health was very poor. He took around 8 pills a day. He had diabetes which required him to take 5 to 7 insulin shots daily. He suffered from sleep apnea, where he had to use a CPAP machine every night. In addition, he had acid reflux and pain in his feet and legs. But now his health has improved immensely since his surgery. He no longer takes any medications or suffers from diabetes, sleep apnea, acid reflux or foot and leg pain.

Following the advice from his primary care physician, Dr. Arthur Pettigrew, Dan contacted BMI Surgery at Silver Cross Hospital and attended a free information session.  “Meeting

Dr. Christopher Joyce and his staff at BMI Surgery was a wonderful experience; they were all so knowledgeable and supportive,” shares Brown. “Once I realized how my poor food choices and lack of exercise hampered my health, I was able to sincerely commit to the program. Their program is phenomenal!” With their support, Brown committed to the workout and diet plan and underwent laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy surgery on January 17, 2011.

“Before I had my surgery, Dr. Joyce explained that the surgery was merely a tool to lose weight and the real success depended on me taking personal responsibility of my own health,” stated Brown. “I listened to all of the great advice Dr. Joyce and his staff gave me and never deviated from the program. I was so committed to being successful because I was unsure how long I would survive due to all of my medical issues. And I didn’t want to be a burden to my wife, Kim and sons, Chris and Joe.”

Brown’s motivation was fueled by the support he received not only from Dr. Joyce and his staff, but also from other patients he met at the monthly support group meetings. In addition, his wife made his meals for him that aided him to stay on track. “When I would come home from working out, all I would have to do is open the refrigerator and grab a meal that my wife already prepared for me. I am so grateful to her and my sons for all the love and support they gave me throughout this entire process,” said Brown.

“Dan is an excellent example of how life-changing bariatric surgery can be. His dedication to adhering to the program by eating well and exercising is very impressive,” says Dr. Christopher Joyce.

BMI Surgery has changed the lives of nearly 3,000 patients with life changing surgeries including laparoscopic gastric bypass, laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, and Lap-Band and REALIZE gastric band systems at Silver Cross Hospital.   Board certified laparoscopic and bariatric surgeons Christopher Joyce, M.D., and Brian Lahmann, M.D., are dedicated to helping patients win their personal battles with obesity and enjoy healthier lives, which is why they dedicated themselves to opening a new office on the new Silver Cross Hospital campus at I-355 and Route 6 in New Lenox. Silver Cross has been named a Bariatric Center of Excellence by the American Society of Bariatric Surgery and a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery.

“Our new office location provides patients with enhanced access to state-of-the-art technology and expanded space including more exam rooms, band adjustment rooms, and seating in the waiting area,” shares Dr. Joyce. “We want to help transform lives inside and out, so we used that same philosophy in the design of our new office space.”

To find out more about the bariatric surgery program at Silver Cross Hospital, attend a free informational session on both traditional and laparoscopic surgery on any Wednesday at

5:45 p.m. at BMI Surgery at 1890 Silver Cross Blvd., Suite 260, New Lenox.  To attend, visit or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).

RIC at Silver Cross helps Romeoville woman regain pain-free life

Posted on : 11-27-2012 | By : tsimons | In : News, Rehabilitation

Romeoville resident Pat Cetera is pictured with some members of her team of physical therapists who cared for her during her inpatient stay and outpatient therapy sessions at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) at Silver Cross Hospital. Pictured from left to right in the front row are - Pat Cetera; Cheryl Tindall, Inpatient Occupational Therapist Assistant; back row - Kathy Jones, Senior Inpatient Physical Therapist; and Valerie Paluszak, Manager of Outpatient Rehabilitation.

Pat Cetera suffered for years from severe pain in both of her knees. Walking was a challenge, but the pain became unbearable whenever she had to stand for awhile. “Both of my knees would ache in pain anytime I had to wait in a line at a store,” said 65 year-old Pat Cetera.

The magnitude of Cetera’s condition was confirmed after her orthopedic surgeon, Dr. William Farrell, reviewed X-Rays of both of her knees. “Dr. Farrell couldn’t understand how I was able to walk at all after seeing the large amount of arthritis that was in both of my knees,” said Cetera. “We then decided that having double knee replacement surgery was the best option for me to try to eliminate my pain.”

After her surgeries early this year, Pat immediately recovered in the Inpatient Unit at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) at Silver Cross Hospital. After her hospital stay, she then received physical therapy from RIC’s outpatient center, which is also located on the hospital’s New Lenox campus.

“I am so grateful for the kind-hearted RIC therapists that supported me and continued to motivate me throughout my many weeks of physical therapy during both my hospital stay and several months of outpatient therapy sessions,” said Cetera. “They are all wonderful professionals and were excellent at making sure I was not going to give up, especially when I had times of frustration during my long therapy.”

“Pat’s dedication to her rehabilitation was a key factor in her successful recovery,” says Matthew Boebel, Administrative Director for The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital.  Interestingly, Cetera had the option to go to two other physical therapy companies close to her home, but instead she chose to go to The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital. “I was so impressed with the high quality and compassionate care that I received as an inpatient at RIC that I decided not to go to any of the physical therapy centers near my home, and instead drove three days a week for several months to The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox.”

Advice for other rehabilitation patients
In order to have a successful recovery, Cetera strongly encourages other rehabilitation patients to stay committed to their physical therapy treatment plan. “My motivation to continue doing my therapy was so I could start living my life pain free,” said Cetera. “You have to be patient with your recovery time and realize that you can’t push yourself too much. However if you continue to steadily do your therapy work you will have a successful rehabilitation. I’m living proof because now I can walk and stand in lines completely pain free!”

About the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital
Silver Cross Hospital and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) have teamed up to expand post-acute physical medicine and rehabilitation services in Will County and the southwest Chicagoland communities. The partnership provides world-class rehabilitation care for a range of conditions for patients close to home. Silver Cross is the only healthcare facility in the area with this breadth of services in partnership with RIC. Together, Silver Cross and RIC provide rehabilitation services in inpatient and outpatient care settings at four locations—at the main Hospital and the Silver Cross Professional Buildings in Homer Glen, New Lenox and West Joliet. Additionally, the RIC team provides physical therapy services for patients on the hospital’s medical and surgical floors. For more information about RIC at Silver Cross, call (815) 300-7110.

Tips for a Long and Healthy Life

Posted on : 11-26-2012 | By : tsimons | In : Uncategorized

How healthy are you? Do you make healthy food choices? Do you exercise regularly? Do you drink at least 8 glasses of water a day? Do you get enough sleep every day?  If you answered no to many of these questions, then it’s time to assess your overall health.

Over 65% of Americans are either obese or overweight.  Oftentimes our hectic professional and personal lives don’t allow us to make taking care of ourselves a priority. Well there is help to get you living a healthier life, and it may be easier than you think.

“No matter how old you are, you have the ability to positively impact how long you live, and how active and vital you feel in your later years,” said Deirdra Greathouse-Williams, M.D., family practice physician, who is on staff at Silver Cross Hospital. “By following some basic healthy diet and exercise habits, people can dramatically improve their overall health.”
 Changes in your behavior can truly increase your chances of a longer and healthier life. Here are some simple tips:

1. Maintain a healthy weight.

2. Don’t smoke.

3. Stay hydrated. Drink 8 glasses of water a day.

4. Build a strong social network of family and friends.

5. Participate in physical and mental activities every day.

6. Eat a healthy diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, and substitute healthier monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats for unhealthy saturated fats and trans fats.

7. See a dentist regularly and be sure to floss regularly.

8. Constantly challenge your mind. Keep learning and trying new activities.

9. Ask your doctor if medication can help you control the long-term side effects of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, osteoporosis, or high cholesterol.

Free Lecture 
Want to live a long and healthy life?  Join Dr. Deirdra Greathouse-Williams, family practice physician on staff at Silver Cross Hospital, for a free lecture – Preventative Medicine- on Tuesday, December 4 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Silver Cross Hospital Conference Center, Pavilion A, 1890 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox.  Dr. Greathouse-Williams will share helpful tips and lifestyle changes to prevent common diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular, diabetes and obesity. Participants will be entered in a drawing for a free Baseline Heart screening at Silver Cross Hospital. Call 1-888-660-HEAL or register online at

In shape for Black Friday’s Workout?

Posted on : 11-21-2012 | By : tsimons | In : Business Sponsors, Events, I Matter Benefits, News

Before you hit the mall, don’t forget to hit the gym!  Curves in Joliet offers Silver Cross I Matter members 5-10% discounts. 

Black Friday Deals from The Sewing Store

Posted on : 11-20-2012 | By : tsimons | In : Business Sponsors, Events, I Matter Benefits, News

When you are out and about grabbing those Black Friday and even Thanksgiving Day specials, don’t forget to bring your I Matter discount card!  Just show it to the clerk and you could receive an additional 5-10% savings at various local business partners like The Sewing Store in Joliet.  Not an I Matter member?  Sign-up for Free today.  Happy shopping!

Risk for home fires high on Thanksgiving

Posted on : 11-20-2012 | By : tsimons | In : Health Tips, News

More than double the amount of home fires occur on Thanksgiving Day than an average day according to the U.S. Fire Administration. In fact, each year over 4,000 fires occur on Thanksgiving Day.

Even with the best plans, accidents can still happen. Thanksgiving is a popular time for cooking related burns.

“For a superficial burn, cool the area by running it under cold water until the heat eases and then loosely cover the burn with a sterile dressing,” says Daniel Checco, D.O., Emergency Medicine physician at the Silver Cross Free-Standing Emergency Care Center located at 143rd St. and Bell Rd in Homer Glen. “And for more severe burns, get to an Emergency Room immediately to seek the correct burn treatment to avoid infection and scarring.”

To help prevent home fires this Thanksgiving, the Red Cross suggests the following tips:

  • Keep potholders and food wrappers at least three feet away from heat sources while cooking
  • Wear tighter fitting clothing with shorter sleeves when cooking
  • Make sure all stoves, and ovens have been turned off when you leave the kitchen
  • Set timers to keep track of turkeys and other food items that require extended cooking times
  • Turn handles of pots and pans on the stove inward to avoid accidents
  • Follow all manufacturer guidelines regarding the appropriate use of appliances

 And be prepared to protect yourself from a fire by keeping a fire extinguisher in the kitchen in case of emergency and know how to use it. Read the directions carefully before an actual emergency occurs.

Seeking relief from Pelvic Pain? Join us.

Posted on : 11-19-2012 | By : tsimons | In : Uncategorized

Pelvic prolapse affects 1 in 2 women who have experienced vaginal birth, a hysterectomy or obesity. It is estimated that nearly 50% of all women between the ages of 50 and 79 have some form of prolapse.

Pelvic prolapse is a condition that occurs when muscles and ligaments supporting your pelvic organs weaken. As a result, these organs (uterus, vagina, cervix, bladder, urethra, or rectum) slip from their normal position.

“As the prolapse of the vagina and uterus progresses, women can feel bulging tissue protruding through the opening of the vagina,” said Luke Cho, M.D., urologist, who is on staff at Silver Cross Hospital. “Prolapse in itself is not life threatening but it can be uncomfortable and sometimes makes it very difficult for women to empty their bladders.  This can lead to other problems such as urinary infections and even kidney damage.”

 Symptoms & Risk Factors.  Some women with prolapse have no symptoms. Others experience a feeling of sitting on a ball; pulling in the pelvis; pelvic or abdominal pain; painful intercourse; protrusion of tissue from the vagina; bladder infections; vaginal bleeding; unusual discharge; constipation or frequent urination. Pelvic prolapse is common, affecting about one in every three women who have had a child. One in nine women experience symptoms severe enough to need surgery. Prolapse risk factors include multiple vaginal deliveries, age, obesity, hysterectomy and smoking.

Treatment.  There are many treatment options available. For most women, the treatment they choose depends on how much they are bothered by their symptoms. Many conservative treatment options are available including pelvic floor rehabilitation. Although typically pelvic prolapse worsens over time and can only be fully corrected with surgery.  One of the best procedures for severe prolapse is called sacrocolpopexy. It is considered one of the most effective ways to correct pelvic prolapse and resolve symptoms. “During this procedure, the vagina is lifted back to its correct position. There is usually a very small amount of mesh involved in the repair.   However, the mesh is almost all completely in the abdomen and not in the vagina, which is an important difference and lower risk procedure than vaginal mesh procedures for prolapse.” said Dr. Cho.

Traditionally, Sacrocolpopexy procedures were performed using open surgeries that were successful, but they had very high recovery times. Fortunately technological advancements have allowed surgeons to correct severe pelvic prolapsed using minimally invasive da Vinci Surgery.

State-of-the-art da Vinci Surgery requires just a few tiny incisions. The enhanced vision, precision, dexterity and control of da Vinci allows your doctor to perform an excellent sacrocolpopexy even for women with complex and severe prolapse cases. da Vinci Sacrocolpopexy offers women many potential benefits over traditional open surgery, including: less blood loss,  shorter hospital stay, and low rate of complications.

How does it Work?  Controlled by a surgeon from a console, the innovative da Vinci robot is used to make 8mm (`1/3 inch) to 12 mm (~ 1/2 inch) incisions and then long, delicate instruments are inserted into the patient that enable specially trained physicians to perform the surgery.

Interestingly, misconceptions still exist that the robot is actually performing the surgery all by itself. “The important aspect to understand is that the robotic system cannot be programmed nor can it make decisions by itself,” said Dr. Cho. “The da Vinci System can only operate with direct input from the surgeon.”

Find Relief.  Join Drs. Luke Cho and Constance Marks, urologists, on Monday, December 3, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Silver Cross Hospital, Pavilion A, Conference Center 1, 1890 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox for a free program, Women & Pelvic Problems. He will discuss the common symptoms, causes and latest treatment options including surgical options using the da Vinci robot available to help find pain relief. Register to attend this program online call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).

 Unsure if you are at risk for Pelvic Floor Disorders & Incontinence?  Take our Free Incontinence Risk Assessment.

New single-incision robotic surgery for gallbladder removal

Posted on : 11-09-2012 | By : tsimons | In : News

Dr. Gamagami performed the first Single Site Robotic surgery to remove a gallbladder at Silver Cross Hospital on Nov. 1

Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, performed the area’s first da Vinci® Single-Site Cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal surgery) on Nov. 1, 2012.  Using robotic assistance, Dr. R.A. Gamagami, board certified general surgeon, and a surgical team at Silver Cross removed the patient’s gallbladder through a tiny one-inch incision in the belly button, leaving only a small, nearly invisible scar.

 Dr. Gamagami, who was also the first physician to perform a single-incision gallbladder surgery two years ago at Silver Cross, believes the robot offers better visualization through enhanced magnification and 3-D vision, allowing for a safer, less traumatic, quicker recovery and superior cosmetic outcome. 

 Da Vinci is a robotic surgical system widely used in complex, minimally invasive surgery; however, it was only in December 2011 that the Food and Drug Administration cleared the specialized Single-Site instruments for use with the da Vinci robot.

 Dr. Gamagami is one of a small group of surgeons in the country who has received training to perform the surgery, and one of several on staff at Silver Cross Hospital.

“Single-Site instruments used with the da Vinci platform are the next step in the evolution of surgical technologies,” Dr. Gamagami said. “We are truly excited to be a leader today in the surgical treatment of tomorrow.”

 Potential benefits of Single-Site gallbladder surgery may include virtually scarless results, minimal pain, low blood loss, fast recovery, a short hospital stay and high patient satisfaction. The surgery can be performed in about one hour with a typical hospital stay of less than 24 hours.

 How it Works

During the procedure, the surgeon sits comfortably at a console, viewing a 3D, high-definition image of the patient’s anatomy. The surgeon uses controls below the viewer to move the instrument arms and camera.  In real-time, the system translates the surgeon’s hand, wrist and finger movements into more precise movements of the miniaturized instruments inside the patient.

Unlike traditional robotic surgeries requiring three to five small incisions, this new technology allows for a single incision in the belly button where instruments are placed and the diseased gallbladder is removed.

Most people who require gallbladder removal are candidates for the robotic, single-incision surgery. According to the American College of Surgeons, surgery is the recommended treatment for gallbladder pain from gallstones and non-functioning gallbladders.

More than 1 million people in the U.S. have their gallbladder removed each year. Most are performed with traditional laparoscopy using several incisions.

Silver Cross began offering robotic surgery in the new hospital at I-355 and Route 6 in April 2012 and has since performed over 150 procedures for urology, gynecology, colorectal and digestive diseases. For a referral to a surgeon who performs robotic surgery, click here or call 1-888-660-HEAL.

$10 off a massage or facial with mammogram or other test

Posted on : 11-08-2012 | By : tsimons | In : Bone Health, breast cancer, Events, I Matter Benefits, Mammography, News

To encourage women to be screened for breast cancer and osteoporosis, the Silver Cross Center for Women’s Health  is offering $10 off a one-hour massage or facial following a mammogram, breast ultrasound, or bone densitometry scan. 

Spa services are performed by an experienced licensed massage therapist/esthetician.  Regularly priced at $60, one-hour massages and facials are payable by cash or check at time of appointment.  Insurance will not be billed.  Spa services are only available in conjunction with a screening or diagnostic test at the Silver Cross Center for Women’s Health. To schedule an appointment, call (815) 300-7076. A physician’s order is required for all tests.  Don’t have a doctor?  Call 1-888-660-HEAL or visit for a free referral.

Plus, through the Silver Cross free I Matter™ program, Silver Cross Center for Women’s Health patients receive valuable discounts from local businesses just for getting their regular health screenings.  For more information or to become an I Matter member, visit

Massages and Mammograms, Oh My!

The Center for Women’s Health is located at I-355 and Route 6 in Pavilion B on the Silver Cross Hospital campus in New Lenox. Set in a soothing, spa-like environment, the Center was the first in the region to provide an advanced level of diagnostics coupled with specialized care for women in one convenient location.

Offering a variety of healthcare services designed around a woman’s needs and lifestyle, the Center’s crown jewel is full field digital mammography—the latest breast cancer testing available.  “At the Silver Cross Center for Women’s Health, we use only digital mammography technology to provide our patients with the best service and care,” says Marci Vasiliades, Manager of the Silver Cross Center for Women’s Health. “Patients can bring their old films in and we will scan and transfer them to the digital format for easy comparison.”

Digital mammograms also simplify the procedure for women. Although compression of the breasts is still important when performing digital mammography, the compression paddles are warmer and more flexible, which ultimately provide women with a more comfortable experience.  Following the screening, women can call a 24-hour mammogram hotline to obtain their test results alleviating any anxiety.

The Silver Cross Center for Women’s Health is designated as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and is uniquely staffed with a Certified Breast Care Nurse (CBCN™).  “By having a Certified Breast Care Nurse working at the Center, we are able to offer our patients even more specialized and personalized care,” said Vasiliades. “This specialized nurse guides our patients through the next steps in their care.”

In addition to digital mammography, the innovative center offers women diagnostic breast ultrasound and breast biopsies, bone densitometry scans, and baseline heart screenings.  For added convenience, the Center recently began offering spa services for patients following their testing appointment. 

“At the Silver Cross Center for Women’s Health, we provide healthcare that is centered around women—their needs, concerns, and lifestyle,” says Vasiliades.  “It’s a partnership that puts each woman at the center.”

Are you at Risk for COPD?

Posted on : 11-07-2012 | By : tsimons | In : Events, News

As many as 24 million Americans may have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and don’t know it.  Any number of them may be in our community. The key to early diagnosis is screening.

Silver Cross Hospital has joined a national public health initiative led by Nascar legend Danica Patrick called DRIVE4COPD, to find the “missing millions” who may be at risk and do not know it and encourage them to talk to their healthcare professional about COPD.  COPD is a progressive lung disease that makes it harder and harder to breathe because less air is able to flow in and out of the lungs. As people get older, many assume that feeling out of breath while doing normal activities and wheezing are just signs of aging. But these symptoms could be early signs of COPD – and there’s a way for people to find out if they might be at risk.  

Silver Cross Hospital will host a free COPD Awareness event, Wednesday, Nov. 14, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the Conference Center located in Pavilion A, 1890 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox. A registered respiratory therapist will share information about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and rehabilitation therapy.  Participants will receive a free spirometry screening and take a five-question assessment to determine their risk for COPD.   

“It’s important to diagnose COPD as soon as possible because it’s a progressive disease and once lung function is lost, it can’t be regained,” says Luanne Nurczyk, Manager of Respiratory Therapy and the Silver Cross Sleep Disorders Center.

Individuals who have a history of smoking more than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime or experience any of the following common symptoms of COPD should be screened on Nov. 14 or talk with their doctor:

  • Coughing, with or without mucus/phlegm
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness

Register to attend the free COPD Awareness event by calling 1-888-660-HEAL (4325) or online.   Visit DRIVE4COPD.ORG to learn more about COPD and to help put the brakes on this common and debilitating disease.